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Disgust sensitivity predicts defensive responding to mortality salience

Disgust sensitivity predicts defensive responding to mortality salience
Disgust sensitivity predicts defensive responding to mortality salience

Disgust protects the physical self. The present authors suggest that disgust also contributes to the protection of the psychological self by fostering stronger defensive reactions to existential concerns. To test this idea, 3 studies examined the link between disgust sensitivity and defensive responses to mortality salience or "terror management" processes (Greenberg, Solomon, & Pyszczynski, 1997). Each study included an individual difference measure of disgust sensitivity, a manipulation of mortality salience, and a dependent measure of defensive responding. In Study 1, disgust sensitivity predicted increases in worldview defense in the mortality salience condition but not in the control condition. In Study 2, disgust sensitivity predicted increases in optimistic perceptions of the future in the mortality salience condition but not in the control condition. In Study 3, disgust sensitivity predicted reductions in delay discounting for those in the mortality salience condition such that those higher in disgust sensitivity discounted the future less. This pattern did not occur in the control condition. These findings highlight disgust sensitivity as a key to understanding reactions to mortality salience, and they support the view that disgust-related responses protect against both physical (e.g., noxious substances) and psychological threats.

Attitude to Death, Defense Mechanisms, Emotions, Female, Humans, Individuality, Male
1528-3542
590-602
Kelley, Nicholas J
445e767b-ad9f-44f2-b2c6-d981482bb90b
Crowell, Adrienne L
d222f77e-8291-422a-bedd-36f5431e80d4
Tang, David
c1f39cad-a682-4b04-871d-9c8fd2e10504
Harmon-Jones, Eddie
7db5a96c-612b-4994-922e-8e7d0793a094
Schmeichel, Brandon J
4289bce5-adbd-42ed-8b15-c51d7d13e6d7
Kelley, Nicholas J
445e767b-ad9f-44f2-b2c6-d981482bb90b
Crowell, Adrienne L
d222f77e-8291-422a-bedd-36f5431e80d4
Tang, David
c1f39cad-a682-4b04-871d-9c8fd2e10504
Harmon-Jones, Eddie
7db5a96c-612b-4994-922e-8e7d0793a094
Schmeichel, Brandon J
4289bce5-adbd-42ed-8b15-c51d7d13e6d7

Kelley, Nicholas J, Crowell, Adrienne L, Tang, David, Harmon-Jones, Eddie and Schmeichel, Brandon J (2015) Disgust sensitivity predicts defensive responding to mortality salience. Emotion, 15 (5), 590-602. (doi:10.1037/a0038915).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Disgust protects the physical self. The present authors suggest that disgust also contributes to the protection of the psychological self by fostering stronger defensive reactions to existential concerns. To test this idea, 3 studies examined the link between disgust sensitivity and defensive responses to mortality salience or "terror management" processes (Greenberg, Solomon, & Pyszczynski, 1997). Each study included an individual difference measure of disgust sensitivity, a manipulation of mortality salience, and a dependent measure of defensive responding. In Study 1, disgust sensitivity predicted increases in worldview defense in the mortality salience condition but not in the control condition. In Study 2, disgust sensitivity predicted increases in optimistic perceptions of the future in the mortality salience condition but not in the control condition. In Study 3, disgust sensitivity predicted reductions in delay discounting for those in the mortality salience condition such that those higher in disgust sensitivity discounted the future less. This pattern did not occur in the control condition. These findings highlight disgust sensitivity as a key to understanding reactions to mortality salience, and they support the view that disgust-related responses protect against both physical (e.g., noxious substances) and psychological threats.

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More information

Published date: 1 October 2015
Additional Information: (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
Keywords: Attitude to Death, Defense Mechanisms, Emotions, Female, Humans, Individuality, Male

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 433401
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/433401
ISSN: 1528-3542
PURE UUID: 825391be-ae0c-4a46-80c0-0776656bc906

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Date deposited: 20 Aug 2019 16:30
Last modified: 20 Aug 2019 16:30

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Contributors

Author: Adrienne L Crowell
Author: David Tang
Author: Eddie Harmon-Jones
Author: Brandon J Schmeichel

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